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Joliet Junior College 



WORDEATER 63 STAFF: 



Donna Aiello 
Stanley Holland 
Sharon Peck 
Barbara Pillasch 
M. RamZ 
Patricia Shue 
John Stobart 



In order to get a selection published in this issue, 
four of the above had to vote for acceptance. For the 
award winners, only John Stobart is responsible. 



All copyrights are retained by the authors, and material 
may not be reprinted without their permission, 




Manuscripts or cover designs 
for WORDEATER 6h 

must be submitted to John Stobart 
in Room C-IO69 by: 

APRIL 22, 1988 



Manuscripts will not be returned 

and SHOULD BE TYPED. 



Daniel E. Howard 

Elizabeth Russell 

Kevin Lear 

Judy Belfield 

M. RamZ 

Mary Ann DesMarais 

V.G. 

Elizabeth Russell 

Judy Belfield 

LaVerne Lunger-Bucaro 

D.O.A. 

Elizabeth Russell 

d f aiello 

Elizabeth Russell 

Jon Batuzich 

Lisa Strubin 

Baba Mattai 

Judy Belfield 

Cheri L. Workman 

John Buell 

D.O.A. 

Elizabeth Russell 

James Burkey 

Jon Batuzich 

M. RamZ 

Judy Belfield 

Mary Ann DesMarais 

V.G. 

M. RamZ 

Jacque Kuriger 

M. RamZ 

John Buell 

Lisa Strubin 

Elizabeth Russell 

D.O.A. 

Jacque Kuriger 

Duanne Walton 

James Burkey 

Pamela Sieverin 

Judy Belfield 

M. RamZ 

d f aiello 

Ruth B. Gray 

Jacque Kuriger 

Daniel E. Howard 

Mary Ann DesMarais 

John Buell 

MaryAnn DesMarais 

James Burkey 



WORDEATER 63 / 

TABLE OF CONTENTS 

Hair Color In Relation To Mythology 1 

Anti-Freeze 1 

Japanese Movies 1 

Dog Day 1 

Any Cut 1 

Teddy Bears 1 

Kid 2 

Tricks Are For Kids 2 

Before Kindergarten 2 

When We Were Kids In The 30 ' s 2 

I Sit In The Shadows Of My Own Creations 2 

Illusion 2 

Mary , Mother , And Me ' k 

Leo h 

God Toddles h 

Crystal Fantasy h 

To A Wise Man 5 

Alexandria 5 

Beward 5 

Reach Out From Your Solemn Sleep 5 

Ess And Em 6 

"Whipped" Sneak 6 

Lovey-Dovey Stuff r 6 

Chainsaw Whorer 6 

Headbanger 6 

Inner Eye 10 

Where Does It End 10 

Contrast 10 

In Dreams 11 

Evening Thoughts , 11 

We Are All Prisoners 11 

Fragile 11 

Be Careful , Be Careful 11 

Premonition.- 12 

No Moon Shone 12 

Little Ghosts Of Sunshine 13 

The Duke Of Doom 13 

The Duel Ik 

Spy Days IT 

Masquerade 20 

Birthday Dinner 20 

Josie's Birthday 20 

Christmas Recollections-1987 22 

Read Me ! 2h 

What Rembrandt Did Best 25 

A Kaleidoscope 25 

Come To Me 25 

Always Wanted To 26 

My Love For You 26 




Da,niel E, Howard 



Elizabeth Russell 



HAIR COLOR IN RELATION TO MYTHOLOGY 



ANTI-FREEZE 



I'm not really sure what it is about you 
For all I know it could "be that blonde hair 
But anyone could be a blonde with a treatment 
It's just a matter of wanting it there 



Biting winds chill the 

surface flesh but cannot freeze 

a warm, inner peace. 



So what is it about you that makes you so different 

Why are leading the pack by a mile 

Sure, you're charming, but sorry to say 

Any woman with teeth has the same winning smile 



******** 



Kevin Lear 



JAPANESE MOVIES 



You're witty, bright, alluring, and gifted 

Like thousands of others, a few that I know Godzilla is a classic 

Yet I place you above them, ahead of the class I can't read their lips 

I really don't understand why this is so 



I guess it comes down to that ancient conclusion 
A mythical emotion 'bout people who care 
Perhaps it could be that I really do love you 
Nah, couldn't be that 
Must be the blonde hair 



******** 



M. RamZ 



ANY CUT 



******** 



Judy Belfield 



DOG DAY 

Something in the distant 

heat shimmer 

humid horizon 

visually distorted 

as seen through 

dimestore glass, 

or cellophane, 

a stigmatic blur 

trying to right itself - 

something there, 

in the heat, 

a metaphysical presence 

nameless as Hebrew Who-Am 

weighs heavily as guilt 

nags the soul insistently 

to search memory 

for an answer: 

A day long ago , perhaps , 

pierced with an unbearable sadness 

time has dulled 

but now aches with hints 

in the distant heat 



I remember a cut so deep 

the blood gushed burning 

from the separated skin 

and shock waves wracked my heaving lungs 

No difference, though, to that cut 

and the bloodless one 

which left scar tissue 

inside my chest 

that sharp, true words 

did cut. 

******** 

Mary Ann DesMarais 



TEDDY BEARS 

My room is full of them all 
each so cuddly -n- cute 
short -n- fat ; skinny -n- tall 

to others — they seem awfully mute 
to me< — they are footholds when I fall 

When others offer disdaindul shrugs , 
-n- hurtful shoves 
From them I get tender hugs 
-n- unconditional love 

******** 



******** 



-1- 



V.G. 



Judy Belfield 



KID 



BEFORE KINDERGARTEN 



I don't believe in the boogyman, 
but I'm scared of him. 

******** 

Elizabeth Russell 



TRICKS ARE FOR KIDS 

Her tongue moistens her coral lips. She 
cocks her head and glances with a 
plastered grin at passers-by. 

Patterned stockings suck her legs. Supple 
black leather croons over the rest 
of her body. Her eyes are like 
carnival rides. 

The stoplight on her corner reflects hues 
of red, yellow and green against the 
backdrop of potential customers — no 
one notices. 

It's the day before payday. The faces 
are penniless, so is the tainted lady. 
No dope on the hot town tonight. 

******** 

D.O.A. 



Music recalled in blur 

of yesterday melodies 

Sheherazade and Ink Spots, 

Perry Como and Carmen 

unable to disentangle, 

become a wistful paragraph 

of an ephemeral afternoon; 

instead, a phrase of each 

behind a voice reciting 

". . .went to sea 

in a beautiful pea-green boat..." 

Eyelid insides remember 

pages f r,om the books : 

German Christs with wretched eyes 

delicate DaVinci fingers, 

Dali watches , Boticelli graces , 

Michaelangelo faces, 

"Bobby Shaft oe went to sea 

silver buckles on his knee..." 

Liszt rhapsodies, Byzantine virgins 

El Greco torsos, 

"The highway came riding..." 

I do not try to make connections 

extract any sensation from another. 

I am overloaded today 

with the things my mother loved. 

I love them too; let them happen. 

******** 



LaVerne Lunger-Bucaro 



WHEN WE WERE KIDS IN THE '30's 



I sit in the shadows of my own creations, 

alone . 

I write a letter to those who no longer love me, 

alone . 

I undress in the bathroom waiting for the moment, 

alone. M y husband and I were just sitting 

I take the sharp razor and open my jugular, around one wintry evening, and we 

alone. began talking about the 

I see my tears in a crimson mirror, and don't want to die, things we did while 



alone . 



******** 



Elizabeth Russell 



ILLUSION 



Morning frost twinkles 
like refracted prism rain- 
bows after cloudbursts 



growing up. What fun 
we had! 

We started affectionately musing 
about "free" stuff, clothes, activi- 
ties that kept us busy and the events of 
the time. We ended up misty-eyed. 

We remembered the "winner , li the 
yellow and red-striped gumball in the 
penny machine. Tou won a free five- 
cent candy bar if you were lucky. 

Then there was the mint pattie 



******** 



Ccontinued) 



-2- 



When We Were Kids In The '30's, continued 

for a penny; an orange one meant a nickel win- 
ner. 

There was also a long chocolate cara- 
mel; if you had a white center, you were a 
winner. Nickel candy "bar. 

There were Popsicles with "free" em- 
bedded on the wooden stick in brown let- 
ters. 

I've often wondered what prevented me 
from becoming a professional gambler. How 
I loved to take chances — penny at a time. 

At the school store, there were penny 
wax bottles with liquid in them. You could 
chew the wax when you finished the liquid. 
This little item costs $1.59 a pound at the 
supermarket today. 

My husband and I were both born and 
raised in Chicago just before and the year 
of the '29 Depression so we both experienced 
this era with a first-hand impression. It 
wasn't easy! 

My husband exclaimed, "My mom always 
saw to it that we had nice warm clothes. 
She'd order from the Sears Roebuck catalog 
and would pay on time. He remembered how 
proud he was of his new laced boots, knickers, 
and brown leather jacket. I'm sure he had 
better clothes then than he has now! 

I remembered a scant wardrobe, usually 
hand-me-downs from my older sister. What 
made it worse, my Mom didn't know how to hem 
dresses. 

I do remember Buster Brown haircuts 
and huge, fancy ribbons. How I hated those! 
I thought I was the ugliest creature on two 
legs in first grade. 

For years, I wore galoshes! UG-LY. 
I was in junior high school before the cute 
white boots were in style. 

Then, to be in, you had to have one of 
those yard-sized babushkas with the long 
yarn fringe dangling from it . I think I 
made my own, I can't remember. 

We both recalled the first time we saw 
"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." We re- 
called looking for empty bottles for admis- 
sion. 

We remembered the tatooes you could 
wash off your hands. 

Iron-on tee-shirt transfers were the 
rage in those days. 

There was a milkman with his horse 
and buggy that delivered milk and dairy pro- 
ducts to your home for only a few cents more 
than the store. Then the milk companies 
switched to trucks. I guess it took more to 



feed a truck than it did a horse be- 
cause now the milkman is extinct! 

We fondly remembered the old rag 
man with his horse and buggy who yelled, 
"Rags, old iron, newspapers!" In 
those days, we stacked and saved news- 
papers, scoured the basement for scrap 
and searched the neighborhood for junk. • 
We even saved old rags. Can you believe 
it? The rag man had a scale on his 
wagon to weigh the precious cargo. My 
mom was always happy to hear this guy, 
for she knew it would bring a little 
order to our backyard and basement. 
My mother used to take me for 
shoes, and it seemed my feet grew so 
fast. The salesman had an easy answer 
to a correct fit. They used to have an 
X-ray machine that you could put your 
feet into and could see your bones and 
that determined your new correct size. 
To this day, I wonder about the effect- 
iveness and accuracy of that thing. My 
sister said her chiropodist told her 
that her problem was from wearing a 
size smaller than she really needed — 
all her life. I guess I'm lucky; no 
problems . 

I can vividly remember when the 
Chicago public schools were closed due 
to a polio epidemic. I'm not sure, 
but I think I was in second grade. 
Our home project was to complete a 
scrapbook and turning it in upon the 
opening of school. I also recall how 
scared I was. 

To keep me busy, my mom taught 
me how to embroider. To this day, I 
enjoy it! 

We also made yarn dolls , a boy and 
a girl, and sold them for ten cents 
a pair. Everyone was wearing them. 

She also kept me busy with an empty 
thread spool that had four nails 
pounded into one end. I made braid 
strings which made up into pot holders 
or rugs . 

We collected Dixie cup lids be- 
cause they had pictures of movie stars 
on them. We traded, just like the kids 
traded baseball cards, and still do. 

My husband loved to "pop" morning 
glories. He wasn't too popular with 
his neighbors. I can see why. He 
still loves- to pop things. He scares 

(continued) 



-3- 



When We Were Kids In The '30's, continued 



Elizabeth Russell 



the daylights out of me when he pops 
plastic bags. 

One of the most satisfying projects- 
of our time was that of building an 
orange crate scooter. Obviously, we 
made them out of orange crates plus an 
old pair of roller skates. If you had 
a candle attached to the front for 
night driving, your crate was considered 
to be a "Cadillac" of scooters. 

We laughed and laughed as we re- 
called these memories. I suppose we 
felt a little shadow of melancholy come 
over us, but I guess that's the way it 
is when you remember. 

******** 

d f aiello 
MARY, MOTHER, AND ME 



LEO 



He was Irish indeed and played pool like 

a hawk. 
The harder he drank, the harder he fought. 
He was jolly at once, or mad as a hatter. 
And even at times, his life made no matter. 

But he still made the break and sunk every 

ball. 
Drunk or sober, he still won them all. 

Then one day his luck changed, he had no 

one to blame. 
He married the eight ball, and lost the 

last game. 

******** 

Jon Batuzich 



We rise 

and sing 

on the gossamer wings 

of voices spoken 

and heard long ago. 

We hear 

and feel 

as the Earth Mother kneels 

suckling the children 

torn from their wombs. 

We taste 

and eat 

from the salty browned meat 

of the mortal who looks 

toward blue heaven's gate. 

We touch 

and comfort 

with soft bosom rhythm 

the boy who cries out 

with shame in the night . 

We ache 

and smile 

as we walk the many miles 

and a tear on your cheek 

wipes ours away. 

******** 



-h- 



GOD TODDLES 

Bow down before me fools 

I am your god 
Praise me mortals 
as I give you children 
and take them 
Praise me mortals 
as I rape your women 

Praise me mortals 
for I have filled the world with 
flowers , trees , oceans , seas 
AIDS, cancer, death and disease 

Praise me mortals 
for as you say 
I work in mysterious ways 

I gave you Roosevelt, Kennedy, and Gleason 
I also gave you Hitler, Gacy and Manson 

These last 3 men were put away 
But I get temples, altars, and fame 
for I am your god, and I do the same 

Praise me mortals 

******** 

Lisa Strubin 

CRYSTAL FANTASY 

Snow covers the. ground 
like confectioner's sugar 
sprinkles on pancakes . 



******** 



Baba Mattai 



Judy Belfield 



TO A WISE MAN 



ALEXANDRIA 



What hidden treasures lie 

secrete in the canyons 

of thy mind; 

what noble, aristocratic 

expressions of language 

behoove thee 

to tell me, thou holiest 

of sages? 

Draw near and "bare thy "breast 

if thou canst , to the lowliest 

of thy apprentices. 

I have seen thee in thy glory 

amidst the writings especially 

of the Greeks - 

foraging, foraging, foraging; 

amidst the pages of 

that "bard of the psyche , 

his equal yet to be seen, 

to proffer understanding of a species 

in deep distress. 

What ' s there thou needst tell me , 

tell me, I pray. 

Thy valued complexity, Ah! 

There ' s the challenge , 

addressing things ultimate 

to add if but a smidgin 

of meaning, 

yet profound, yet able to say 

more than can be known 

of myself, by myself. 

Desist no, mercifully, from thy pursuit, 

lest I, for one, be left forlorn, 

tormented, hapless in Maia's arms. 



One evening 

in torchlit rooms 

a lone man read 

dreamed of romance. . . 

A sunset explosion 

lighting horizon 

conflagration spitting heat 

a peppering of fire, 

the last of papyrus rolls 

turning black the collection 

of all we knew. 

Eratosthenes screamed 

his face red-orange 

pillowed in flame : 

Tomorrow, tears, 

after the smoldering simpering 

trailed away toward Rome 

when it was too late 

even for regret . 

We wonder now 

what we knew — ■ 

if perhaps a simple story 

caught a pair of lovers 

held them 

like bodies in Pompeii 

an ancient couple 

courting forever 

until disaster... 

******** 

John Buell 



REACH OUT FROM YOUR SOLEMN SLEEP 



******** 



Cheri L. Workman 



BEWARE 



Smile like 

a razor 

but 

beware 

I know of the games 

you play 

My God 

I wrote the script! 



Reach out from your 
solemn sleep. 
Open your eyes , 
look at me weep. 
Pierce my heart, 

my mind, 

my fear, 
and enter this world 
through another man's tears. 

******** 



•5- 



******** 



D.O.A. 



Elizabeth Russell 



ESS AND EM 



"WHIPPED" SNEAK 



She's my S&M baby 

Yeah, she's all mine 

She whips- me , maybe , 

But that's all fine. 

Oooo! 

Baby I 

OhI 

Harder! 

Oooo! Oh! 

Harder ! Harder ! 

Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah! 

Ouch, Bitch! 



******** 



James Bur key 



LOVEY-DOVEY STUFF 

I thought you and I would go on forever 
Never-ending, never stopping. 
Thank God I was wrong. 



The dwelling is quiet, they're all asleep, 
it's half past twelve, to the kitchen I 

sneak. 
Tiptoe, tiptoe, through the dark house 
Silently, silently, quiet as a mouse. 
I open the refrigerator, slowly as can be. 
Looking for the thing I hide especially 

for me. 
Back in the corner behind the milk and ham. 
I spy the little beauty in the red and 

white can. 
If Mama could have seen me, I think she 

would have died. 
Tilt back my head and open my mouth wide. 
Push down the nozzle, fill it to the 

brim. 
Swallow one down and do it again. 
When my deed is finished, back to bed I 

quietly slip. 
And think about tomorrow and my can of 
"Reddi Whip". 

******** 



******** 



M. RamZ 



Jon Batuzich 



HEADBANGER 



CHAINSAW WHORER 

Disect me with your eyes 

love me like a knife 
Carve my still beating heart 

from my bleeding chest 
I'll give you my life 
You give me your razor sharp love 

together forever in a 
cold steel blood orgy 
Smearing the sticky red fluid 

across our breasts 
and face 
You're a chainsaw whorer 
Here to wreak havoc on my psyche 

and drink my cooling blood 
But I love you 
and your skull . . . 

******** 



-6- 



Roeg stood near the Headbanger appara- 
tus and marvelled at his work of engi- 
neering; the years of labor and the 
intense pressure the State had placed 
upon him had not been in vain. He had 
succeeded in creating the perfect mind- 
blank device. 

Roeg was a large man, nearing mid- 
dle age, with premature white hair and 
the deep facial crevices of a man be- 
leaguered with duty and responsibility. 
He wore a dull green industrial jumpsuit 
and hard leather workboots; "tinted gog- 
gles hung around his veiny neck. He 
would have resembled an overworked fac- 
tory laborer had it not been for the 
intense genius that burned in his face. 

There, inihe cavernous cemented 
lab, his impressive device was housed. 
The Headbanger --or, Transition Device 
20P, as the Sikate regarded it official- 
ly — stretched from one end of the 

(continued) 



Headbanger, continued 



warehouse-like chamber to an abrupt impasse 
at the west wall. 

The device was a hundred and fifty- 
yards in length. It began as a cannon- 
platform at the east foundation: This was 
a massive iron barrel, from which the lock- 
chair and helmet were shot at an unbeliev- 
able speed. Prom there, the lock-chair 
would zoom across the hard, siliconed alloy- 
tracks and into the padded west wall, which 
would serve as a mitt, catching the lock- 
chair and impacting with the helmet. 

Painless to the man in the helmet, 
Roeg reasoned. 

He walked over to a podium-like con- 
sole alive with flashing lights. He pressed 
a hard, gloved finger to one of the buttons. 

"Miss Coyle," he said into the micro- 
phone. 

A dull replying voice, void of emotion, 
echoed through the chamber, "Yes, Doctor." 

"Who is tonight's scheduled Transition, 
please?" 

"One moment." 

Roeg eyed the shiny alloyed tracks and 
imagined the process in his mind again. He 
had performed this service to the State 
countless previous times. 

It was his job to destroy minds. 

He heard rustling papers over the inter- 
com and Miss Coyle spoke again. "Doctor?" 

"Yes." 

"The file I've pulled for tonight's 
Transition is Benjamin Kidd." 

Roeg's back stiffened. Finally, tonight 
the State was to be rid of the rebel-intel- 
lectual who had overrode the censors once 
too often. He was a beacon to the common 
people, a brilliant, young scholar of the P-M 
Institute who spoke out against the State 
for closing the universities and for feeding 
the masses lies on the network. 

Kidd had failed to conform. A prolific 
engineer, he had refused to sell his potenti- 
ally dangerous works to the State, which was 
pushing for world domination. 

Tonight, thought Roeg, there would be a 
satisfaction and deep meaning to his work. 

Eventually, dissenters such as Kidd 
were sent to mind-blank spas, where inner 
psyches were systematically destroyed on a 
daily basis by a rigorous brainwashing tech- 
nique, which involved staring at gray TV 
monitors and listening to static on earphones, 

Such ridiculous tactics might have 
worked on the weak of spirit, but some, like 
Benjamin Kidd, were too strong intellectually 
to be broken down. That is why the State 



had hand-picked the extraordinary 
physics-mechanics engineer Phillip 
Roeg. They had employed him to create 
an effective, irreversible system of 
mindblank. But because the State was 
just, and did not believe in the cruel- 
ty cf capital punishment or the maim- 
ing of flesh with sharp instruments, 
they insisted that the process involve 
no pain whatsoever to the subject, 
and that the subject would remain func- 
tional. 

Lobotomies were out ; lasers and 
scalpels were out. 

It was the common belief of the 
State that taking a man's mind away 
from him, especially a great mind, 
was the worst punishment it could per- 
form. Although the Transitions, or 
mindblanks , were done in the secrecy 
of Roeg s basement lab, the State let 
the breeze of rumor filter about the 
country so that any revolutionary in- 
tellectual would know what to expect . 
All a rebel had to do for discourage- 
ment was stand outside the chicken 
wire fence at the Potato Farm; inside, 
white pa jama units of dead men stared 
at nothing as they toiled in the fields 
of this Headbanger dumping ground. 
After Headbanging, the mindless zombies 
were allowed to lead a meaningless 
existence tilling the earth. 

Suddenly the drone of Miss Coyle 's 
voice came over the intercom. 

"Doctor?" 

"Yes." 

"We have a State official request- 
ing access to Transition Lab 20B." 

Roeg frowned. "Does his code 
clear with the system?" 

"Yes," replied Miss Coyle. 

"Access granted," he forced him- 
self to say. 

The engineer walked out of the 
Headbanger housing area and into a 
circular tunnel that had once been 
a sewage outlet , in the days when the 
building had been a university tower. 
Cool air whistled down the trachea-like 
tunnel . 

After a hundred yards, Roeg came 
to a small cement vault. On the chamber 
door a chromium lock clung like a shiny, 
immovable octopus. Digital numbers 
upon the face of the lock flashed in 

(continued) 



-7- 



Headbanger, continued 



the dimness; the joints of the seg- 
mented arms "bent slowly with hydraulic 
hiss. The thick metal door rolled hack- 
ward. 

Inspector Rank stood in the dark- 
ness of the outside world. Roeg saluted 
Rank and received the same. "Greetings 
from the State," Rank said tightly. He 
was a young man, handsome, hut with 
wicked features and the furious eyes of 
one who had digested excessive amounts 
of propaganda. He wore a long, amter 
trenchcoat branded with the black cross 
of the State. Knee-high boots stood 
squarely at attention. Rank's jet, 
oily hair was slicked back and looked like 
a skin-tight helmet; clenched jaws met 
with high, pale temples. 

"The State is most welcome," Roeg 
lied. 

The two men discussed the project 
as they walked, both feeling uneasiness 
toward one another, but concealing it 
expertly. 

"My superiors are impressed with 
your results thus far," said Rank. 

"My thanks . " 

"Tonight, however, we would like to 
have a representative at the lab during 
the Transition." 

"This is why you have come tonight?" 
asked Roeg, His face was sour. 

"I would not bother myself with 
such frivolous activities if it were not 
for one reason: Kidd." 

"Do your superiors think I am unable 
to mindblank one of the greatest think- 
ers of our time?" Roeg asked, almost 
angrily. "They needn't have worried. I 
have no margin of error." 

Rank stepped into the Headbanger 
lab and eyed the apparatus for the first 
time. 

"Nevertheless," he said, "I am here." 

The inspector began to scrutinize 
the machine-project. He pulled a pair of 
round spectacles from his coat pocket 
and placed them over his doubting eyes. 
He scanned the leviathon cannon, lock- 
chair, and oversized helmet. He traced 
the track with his boots until it met 
with the wall. 

"This is Transition Device 20B?" 
Rank asked, unbelieving. 

"I prefer to call it the Headbanger," 
the engineer replied. 



"And does it work?" 

Roeg prepared himself for a lengthy 
monologue involving velocity, physics- 
mechanics, and mass impact. Rank per- 
ceived this. 

"In layman's terms, Doctor." 

"In layman's terms, it is as simple 
as shackling a man into the lock-chair, 
placing his head into the shock-absorber 
helmet , and ramming him at the speed of 
sound into the padded wall . " 

"That's all?" asked Rank. 

"It's really much more than that. 
The Headbanger process is an exact 
science, Inspector. Cushioning "the hel- 
met just right, positioning it exactly, 
braking the lock-chair at the precise 
moment ■ of impact . 

"I am not allowed to use a 
scalpel... I must use science to maim." 

Rank was genuinely impressed. 

"My compliments, Doctor. Certainly 
the experiment has proven itself ef- 
fective." 

Roeg gloated. "Shwartau, Kelling> 
Natlin: all of them were decided threats 
to the State. I quieted them all, for- 
ever . " 

Rank nodded. "Truly, you are an 
asset to the State." 

Roeg and Rank were seated on fold- 
ing chairs , completing clipboard forms , 
when the cool voice broke over the inter- 
com. "Escorts have reported in. Code 
clears . " 

"Let them in," mumbled the doctor, 
absorbed in the paperwork. 

Within minutes, multiple clangings 
were heard coming from the nearby tunnel. 
Three men emerged from the open mouth. 
Two were wearing trenchcoats and saluted 
Rank and Roeg. The third stood there, 
handcuffed, with a somber face and a 
sharpness in his eyes that seemed to 
cut the air. 

Rank stood up and walked to the 
prisoner. 

"Benjamin Kidd, I, representative 
of the State, sentence you to Transition. 

Kidd, the young, brooding, imagi- 
native genius, knew the horrible fate 
ahead of him; he faced it without com- 
plaint , 

(continued) 



-8- 



Headbanger, continued 



He made a promise, however. "One day," 
he said, "men will be able to think free- 
ly and use their minds for the good of 
their brothers." 

Rank did not understand this concept, 
but knew that he should have been offended, 

"Fool, he said contemptuously, 

Roeg broke in. "It grieves me, what I 
must do — I do not consider the snuffing out 
of a mind as something trivial — but you 
are a threat to the State." 

Kidd nodded his dimpled, freckled 
face. "I am proud to consider myself so." 

"So be it," Roeg pronounced. He 
walked over to the electronic console and 
flipped the heavy mother switch; the entire 
basement lab resounded with vibration. The 
nuclear generator surged beneath the floor. 

"Strap him in," snapped the Doctor. 
The escorts, familiar with the process, led 
Kidd to the lock-chair and began strapping 
him in. While this was being done, Roeg 
put on his infrared goggles and began typing 
at the glowing computer board. Rank stood 
by his side, confused. 

"A couple of minutes and we'll be ready," 
Roeg promised. 

By now all that could be seen of Kidd 
were his shoulders and his hands. His bright 
orange head had been swallowed up by the 
huge chrome-dome of the helmet. He was being 
fed oxygen. 

His hands were trapped tightly in a 
bizarre, state-of-the-art version of the 
stocks. His ankles were strapped onto the 
bottom of the lock-chair; his body was pitched 
forward at a sharp degree, and his face, 
wherever it was, looked to the ground. 

The helmet shone brilliantly as, all 
around the previously dormant lab, green and 
gold lights began to flash. A hig^-pitched 
whine began to intensify the air. 

The Qscorts and Rank were ordered behind 
a thick lead shield in a far corner. They 
could view the crash through ultraviolet 
blinds. Roeg's console was also protected. 

His face became very serious as he 
worked the controls; the lock-chair slowly- 
cocked back into the barrel of the cannon. 

He licked his lips nervously and brought 
the lever down. 

The explosion from the cannon was a 
bright, intense pink. Streaks of white 
electricity danced wildly about the room for 
a brief moment and sparks dotted the air, 



-9- 



The pop of the boom was sufferable, but 
left a, ringing in the ear; a short, 
screaming squeak, as final and irre- 
versible as a bullet , was actually the 
lock-chair on its brief, one-second 
journey. The second explosion — an 
echoing, intimidating thud — was the 
chair hitting the pad. 

Smoke, hot and burning to the nos- 
trils, clouded, then dispersed. The 
lab was silent. 

"It is done," Roeg said grimly. 

"Let's see how the cake turned out," 
said one of the escorts walking out from 
behind the blind. 

"Be careful with him," the doctor 
warned, "he's had a hell of a trip." 

The two guards began to unfasten 
the limp, unconscious Kidd. He lay in 
the chair like a rag doll; his hands 
were white and clenched, as hard as 
iron. When the mouth of the helmet fi- 
nally released his head, a pale, un- 
conscious imitation of the rebel fell 
to one shoulder. 

Roeg and Inspector Rank watched as - 
the two escorts got hold of the living 
corpse and carried him away. They dis- 
appeared into the mouth of the tunnel. 

Rank raised an eyebrow and smiled 
at Kidd's plight. 

"Now the State is safer for the 
common good of all," he preached. 

"If revolutionaries such as he 
would just learn to conform," Dr. Roeg 
reasoned. 

Rank tied the belt of his trench- 
coat and saluted the doctor. "You have 
done well and my superiors will be in- 
formed. Keep up the good work, Com- 
rade." He walked stiffly out. 

Roeg nodded in solitude and thought 
himself a genius. 

The basic flaw to Roeg's machine, 
thought the barely-conscious Kidd, was 
that it did not kill ^he mind at the 
moment of impact . 

It expanded it. 

He feigned sleep as the transport 
hummed along the country roads . The 
two escorts were in the front, arguing 
about something , 

Kidd retraced the journey in the 
Headbanger : he remembered the explo- 
sion and the blind, split-second sensa- 

(continued) 



Headbanger, continued 



tion of falling forward — then his 
head had impacted against the wall. 

At that instant in his mind, a pinhole 
had been punctured. He had seen a small 
white dot of light, but the pinhole began 
to elongate. It became a thin tear in an 
endless black fabric. 

The tear began to lengthen and soon 
shafts of blinding white light shot in from 
the rip, which in turn became a gash. 

He had become unconscious from the 
trauma, but upon waking, he realized he 
still had his mind. 

Not only that, but he couldn't believe 
how his mind was changing, growing. Ideas 
became full-blown facts, memories became 
crystal clear, and philosophies and dis- 
ciplines became a true, plentiful substance, 



The universe was creeping in through 
the gash. 

And as the transport rattled on, 
and the escorts hissed at each other, 
Benjamin Kidd made a wondrous discovery. 

He had friends. 

They were talking to him from the 
Potato Farm, where they feigned their 
raindblank as they grew in number; they 
were waiting for a suitable leader with 
which to overthrow the State. 

They had well-concealed, unimagin- 
able powers. 

We look forward to meeting you , 
Benjamin. . . 

Kidd suddenly knew- how to respond 
back to them, even though they were 
miles away. 

And I you, he replied. 



******** 



Judy Belfield 



Mary Ann DesMarais 



INNER EYE 



WHERE DOES IT END 



Walk in drydust 

long lane stretching out 

to cobalt clear sky 

lit translucent 

by late afternoon 

desert sun, 

De Chirico columns 

lined up in perspective 

to a vanishing point 

which infinitely disappears 

and disappears 

like a spiral straightened 

the length of God's life. 

Cards stand edge to edge 

knave of hearts sneers 

lip curled churlishly; 
he knows the secret solutions 
to puzzles plotted 
when the War raged 
and Daddy pretended to be a hero, 
In teacups 

the real surrealism evaporates 
leaving a ring of illusion 
no gypsy can interpret. 
In ignorance, we ask a question 
as shrill as> wind 
through a bell tower 
in the distant cobalt sky 
infinitely disappearing... 

******** 



Head aches ~ so bad 
radio plays — so long 
tears fall — so sad 
heart beats — ■ so strong 

Confusion sets in 
The house so quiet 
yet I can't think thru the din 
It's in my mind this riot 

With every passing day 

My soul starts to mend 

I think to my self -n- say 

No one hears or cares : 

Fine! only where does it end? 

******** 

V. G, 

CONTRAST 

SHE WAS 
tfHITE TO THE WORLD 
WITHOUT A 
SPOT; now 
she cries 
at her 
uncleanness. 



******** 



-10- 



M. RamZ 



Jacque Kuriger 



IN DREAMS 

In dreams , at least , my words are heard 
By one to whom it matters most. 
She also looks into my eyes , 
As if this girl I'd never lost 

In dreams, it's true, is she still mine 
And all is as it was before. 
The lake of summer nights is there — 
Our hands connect; we walk the shore. 

In dreams will she meet me again 
By iron gate that keeps her yard. 
Alas the rooster crows far off 
And I must leave though it he hard. 

In dreams was she all mine to hold, 
But daylight brings me back to sense, 
To cold, to pain, to toil, to life 
Where she no longer cares two pence. 

******** 

M. RamZ 



WE ARE ALL PRISONERS 

We are all prisoners of what we are, 

led barefoot down cold corridors 

deposited into cells that fit our worth. 

And there sit most of us, happy for our 

allowance of bread and measure of lettuce 

rarely asking for more than the power to endure. 

And when some fool attempts to break 

the warden's best laid plans 

either he is locked away a solitaire 

or sentenced to death. 

None of us is free, only numbers are we. 



EVENING THOUGHTS 



Now the day 
Burns away. 
Dark is here 

Sleep, my dear 



And to sleep, 

lie calm and still 
Then if you please 
Think of these: 



Streams that flow 

silver slow 
Murmuring • • .murmuring 
Sweet — clear — cool — 

floating pool. 
Hushed so still 
Around a hill. 

Stars wink there 

sleepy fair. 
Drenched with night 
Pale moon light 
And soft tunes 

Played so slow 

Kind and low 
As you sink down 
Into rest 
Blankets quiet, upon your chest 

******** 

Lisa St rub in 



BE CAREFUL, BE CAREFUL 



******** 



John Buell 



FRAGILE 



Like a plane of glass 
Like a bird's tomb, 
Like a child's mind, 
Like a mother's womb. 



Be careful, be careful! 

That ' s all I ever hear 

Anytime I try to go somewhere 

Don't wreck the car 

Stay away from drunks . 

Go the speed limit. 

Don't follow closely 

Please be on time 

And yes after all that, 

Remember to have fun. 

******** 



******** 



-11- 



Elizabeth Russell instant, he could have sworn he saw a 

deathly pale face filled with terror 
lurking- in the uneven shadows . The 
PREMONITION thunder destroyed his illusion and 

brought him hack to his senses. 
The River Nile seeps Jonathan stepped cautiously into the 

Eternal life to her kings. uninviting living room. Various chairs 

Tutankhamen winks. and a large settee surrounded a thin, 

long coffee table in the center of the 
******** room. Colorless drapes hung like dead 

leaves on a tree. Lightning continued to 
D.O.A. flash like a strobe light in the heavens. 

He brushed off a spot on the couch sending 
up clouds of choking dust and sat down . 
NO MOON SHONE "What are you doing?" commanded a 

deep, menacing, distinctly British voice 
No moon shone through the cloud-covered from the doorway. Jonathan sprang to his 
sky as a car with its two occupants pulled feet, letting a pent-up yell loose. The 
to the side of the deserted country road. face he had seen upstairs peered around 
Lightning streaked across the sky, revealing the archway, no longer fearful but glow- 
what appeared to be a dilapidated house ing with ominous shadows . 
sitting behind a group of eerie-looking "Afraid of the rain, are we?" the 

trees a short distance from the road. As old man quizzed, stepping fully into the 
the rain began to fall, one person climbed room. His face split in two as an evil 
out of the car and ran toward the house. smile spread his lips, revealing bone- 
Jonathan hadn't remembered seeing a house white teeth. He was dressed in an 
here the other day when he was driving immaculate black suit with a deep blue 
through the country. He wondered if any- cravat. 

one even lived in this rotting, old house. "I was. . .uh. . .just .. .looking. .. " 
He opened the storm door and tapped lightly "Looking? Looking?" the old man 
on the inner door. The wind started blow- mocked, waving his arms about grandly, 
ing the rain in blinding sheets. Jonathan Jonathan's eyes stung as the dust raised 
leaned forward and fell as the door screamed and settled. "Looking for what? Some- 
open, The storm door slammed shut behind him. thing to pocket? Something to plunder? 

Immediately he was back on his feet. Something of mine, perhaps, that you could 
He appeared to be in some anteroom. A quickly nip away with?" 
flight of stairs led into darkness directly "N-N-No..." 

in front of him. Occasionally, lightning The old man continued, "Well, you 
flickered in a large picture window at the aren't going to get away with it this 
top of the stairs imbedding on his retina a time. I'm going to ring the police." 
photograph of his surroundings. The upstairs He moved like a shadow into the 
was a sort of landing that surrounded the foyer. He returned a few moments later 
foyer. To the right of Jonathan in the foyer cursing to himself. 
was a tall coat rack and beneath, an antique, "Blast! The lines are down and 
brass umbrella stand with several umbrellas they probably won't be up until morning." 
in it. To the immediate left of the door He stood in thought for a few moments, 
was a smallish table with an ancient tele- then turned and walked back out of the 
phone resting on it. Everything was coated room. "Don't try to leave!" he called as 
in a fine, powdery dust that was easily he clambered up the steps, 
disturbed as Jonathan examined the room. Now was Jonathan's only chance of 

Also on the left was an archway leading into escape. He quietly crept into the foyer 
what appeared to be a sitting room. Opposite and peered into the gloom upstairs. 
on the right-hand wall was a mystery. Clear- Curiously, he picked up the phone 
ly, there had once been a door, but now it receiver. A dial tone blared loudly 
was boarded up quite solidly, from the tiny speaker. The old man had 

Another glimmer of lightning frighten- lied! He tried the door. Just as he 
ingly illuminated the upstairs. For an (continued) 

-12- 



No Moon Shone, continued 



thought, it was locked with a small hut 
effective skeleton-key type lock. 
Frantically-, Jonathan flung himself against 
the decrepit wooden door. 

"I told you not to leave," yelled 
the old nan from the top of the stairs, 
"didn't I? Didn't I? But you didn't 
listen to me! You're like all the rest I 
They didn't listen to me, either, so I 
had to take care of them. I... I,.," 

Jonathan shuddered as he thought 
what might lie behind the boarded-up door 
not three feet away from him. The man 
was obviously insane and Jonathan could 
think of nothing to get out of the house. 

"Who's in the car?" the man asked 
suddenly . 

"W-What?" 

"I said, who's in the car?" He slowly 
rose from the stairs. Deep menace 
burnt in his eyes. 

"M-My w-wife." 

"Is she pretty?" 

"Yes, I-I guess." 

"Why didn't you bring her in with 
you? " 



you, 
me." 



"She didn't want to come in." 

"Why?" 

"We had an argument . " 

"I see. She doesn't want to be near 

but maybe, she'd like to be near 
He stepped down the stairs as if 
he were dancing with an invisible part- 
ner and smiled happily in reverie. At 
the bottom of the stairs he said, "Bring 
her to me . " 

Jonathan stared at him in horror. 

"You know I just had the strange im- 
pression that you don't want me to see 
your wife. I wonder why?" The demonic 
grin reappeared on the old man's face. 
Suddenly, in a fluid motion, he un- 
locked the door and leaped outside, 
taking one last look at Jonathan before 
continuing into the storm. 

Jonathan looked out the open door 
and was barely able to discern the old 
man opening the car door. He closed 
his eyes as he heard maniacal cackling 
above the thunder. He joined in the 
laughter as he realized he had two 
people to bury on this stormy night . 



Jacque Kuriger 



******** 



LITTLE GHOSTS OF SUNSHINE 

The little ghosts of sunshine 
come back to us at night 
And flit around the garden 
Where they played as light. 

They take the shape of fireflies 
the fairies know them well 

But the fairies make a promise 
that they will never tell. 

And so these bits of sunlight 
pretend in phantom play 

To be the fairies' lanterns — 

these little ghosts of day. 

******** 

Duanne Walton 



THE DUKE OF DOOM 

He marched into the arcade with a 
determined look on his face and a mound of 



quarters in his pocket. He scanned 
the room in search of his arch-enemy, 
the Duke of Doom. He spotted him in 
his usual corner, spouting off his mouth 
as always . 

"I am the Duke of Doom! Challenge 
me if you dare! Hahahahahaha ! " 

He strode up to the Duke, quarter 
in hand. 

"All right, you laughing hyena," 
he said. "Let's tango!" 

And with that , he dropped the 
quarter in the slot, pressed the 1-player 
button, and the battle began. 

The Duke hurled his army of arcade 
warriors at his opponent. The young 
man fought back bravely. He had chal- 
lenged the Duke on many occasions, so 
he was quite aware of how to fend off 
the Duke's sinister soldiers. He 
waded through the Duke ' s mob of Robot 
Zombies, flying fiends, firebreathing 
bimbos, Granite grapplers, and wicky- 
wackies. Finally, he got the chance 
of a lifetime! The confrontation he 

(continued) 



-13- 



The Duke of Doom continued 

had always dreamed about! A chance to 
tattle the Duke himself in the Room of 

Doom! 

The Duke leaped out at him, hurling 
flame stars. The young man dodged them, 
then opened fire on the video villain. 
The Duke evaded the blasts from his 
youthful adversary's laser gun, and 
tossed a bolt of blue lightning at him. 
The battle raged on for almost 5 minutes, 
then the dastardly Duke got in a lucky 
shot with one of his sonic beam blasts. 
The young man was defeated. 



"Try again, humanoid! Hahahahaha- 
hahaJ" the Duke laughed. 

■The young warrior did indeed try 
again. He kept trying until he lost 
all of his quarters fighting the Duke. 
When he had lost his last quarter, 
he turned and stamped out of the ar- 
cade. But he stood in the doorway, 
pointed his finger at the Duke and 
said, "Duke of Doom, I'll get you one 
day!" 

The Duke's only response was, 
"Hahahahahaha!" 



##*###*# 



James Bur key 



THE DUEL 



"You think you're so damn tough, don- 
cha, Harley?" 

"Wot me , Galan Demonbane . " 

"You know what I mean, he's your char- 
acter. " 

"Yeah, well, Galan is pretty tough, I 
must confess. He could probably kill your 
wimpy third-level fighter's ass without 
even using Blood-drinker ! " 

"What kind of sword is Blood-drinker 
anyways ? " 

"Well, when I first got it, it was a 
+5 Holy Sword of Demon-slaying, but since 
then I had my friend, the mage Jeryandus, 
Mark Lafton's character, infuse it with an 
additional spell that makes it fight by it- 
self so I can do other things too." 

"Huh, That's pretty cool. But I ain't 
no third-level fighter. That's my brother 
Tom's guy. I've got a ninth-level Paladin, 
and I think he can kill you. In fact, I 
challenge you to a duel. Whaddya think of 
that, hey Harley?" 

"Mike, you have got to be the stupidest 
guy I've ever let play 'Warriors, Wizards 
and Werewolves.' You do realize my charact- 
er is fifteenth-level, don't you? Besides, 
we're both Paladins of the same order. We 
aren't supposed to fight." 

"Oh yeah? Well, my character breaks 
into your character's house and pisses in 
your ale. Now what, Mr, Demonbane?" 

"Pine, Mike, If that is- really what 
you want, my guy will fight your guy. But 
I only fight to the death, y'dig?" 



"Fine by me, wimp. Hey, Lou! 
Come here ! " 

Lou, a well-known gamemaster at 
the school, strode across the cafeteria, 
his game-books present as always. As 
he approached, walking like a king 
amidst the other kids that played, 
knowing that they were in awe of his 
famous skill of gaming, he hailed his 
two colleagues. 

"Hey guys, whatcha need?" 

"Mike here wants to duel. You 
wanna run the game?" 

"Sure. Lemme see your player- 
character sheets." 

Lou studied the well-preserved, 
neatly folded pieces of paper that the 
two boys handed him for a few minutes , 
and then, turning to Mike, asked, 
"Mike, where the hell did you get this 
'Sword of Knight-Slaying?'" 

"Uh...," Mike stalled, angry that 
Lou had warned Harley of his secret 
weapon. "I got it in a campaign that 
Joe ran last weekend at his house." 

"Well, you can't have one!" 

"Why the hell not? Dipshit here," 
Mike stammered, indicating Harley, 
"has a fuckin' Sword of Demon-Slaying 
+5 that fights all by itself!" 

"Yeah, but Demons and Knights are 
natural enemies and opposite alignments. 
Your 'Knight-slayer' is an evil sword. 
Paladins can't carry evil swords or they 
lose their Paladinhood and get turned 
into first-level grunts!" 

(continued) 



-lU- 



The Duel, continued 

"That ain't fair I Nov his character 
has got too powerful a sword compared to my 
only other weapon." 
"What is it?" 

"A Battleaxe +3, dip! It says it right 
there on my character sheet." 

"Oh yeah. Well, then why don't we give 
you a choice of weapons and Harley can choose 
locale." 

"Okay. We'll choose hattleaxes!" 

"Fine, where do you want to fight, 
Harley?" 

"It has to be an open-space, right? 
Not my castle or anything?" 

"Right." 

"I choose the elemental plane of Fire! 
See how you like that, Mike. I have magic 
armor that protects me from magic fire." 

"You can't do that!" Mike bellowed, 
feeling bullied by the thin boy. 

"I'm afraid he can, Mike. Okay, both 
you guys are on the Plane of Fire. Flames 
and smoke prevail everywhere, and you will 
both take damage if unprotected. The various 
fire-demons and Flame-monsters are being 
held at bay by a magic sphere created by 
your god so that you two can batte in peace, 
so to speak," 

"Do you have any magic armor, Mikey?" 
taunted Harley, snidefully. 

"Just a second, I'm looking!" Mike 
scanned his sheet, looking for any possible 
defense, but came up almost empty. 

"Well, Mike?" asked Lou, peering over 
Mike's shoulder to take another look at 
Mike's character. 

"All's I got is a wimpy ring of Fire- 
resistance. " 

"That's all you need!" Lou exclaimed. 
"Your character is safe from the flames." 

"I thought that it only protected my 
finger. . .?" 

"No! Rings are the most powerful items, 
and it will protect you from every kind of 
fire, including dragon-breath, which Harley 
only gets half-damage from." 

Mike was suddenly glad he forgot to 
erase the ring from his sheet, thinking it 
was basically worthless. 

"Okay," Lou began, "roll to see who gets 
the first attack." 

The two boys rolled a pair of six dies, 
and to Mike's pleasure, he rolled a six to 
Harley' 3 h. 

"I go first! I run up to attack him and 
swing at him with my battleaxe!" 



"Just a second, Mike. I happen to 
be wearing a ring of invisibility. You 
don't know for sure where I am." 

"Aw, come on! That ain't fair!" 

"Harley, besides the fact that 
Paladins are supposed to be brave, and 
a ring of inviso is a coward's tool, 
all the smoke from the fire is rubbing 
against you, and it isn't invisible. So 
he can tell where you are." 

"Ha!" 

"...but he'll be at minus two to 
hit, because you are so misty and hard 
to define." 

"Shit! Okay, I roll. .. (Tosses the 
dice to the table)... an 18!" 

"Okay, a ninth-level Paladin 
needs a 19 to hit armor class -8, which 
is what Galan Demonbane has , plus the 
fact that you are at minus two, which 
means you needed to roll a twenty-one, 
minus the three for your battleaxe ' s 
magic , which brings it down to 18 , 
plus Galan 's dex bonus of two, which 
puts it at twenty-one again. Sorry, 
Mike, but you can't even hit him, 
since rolling a twenty-one is impossible 
on a twenty-sided dice!" 

"Now that ain't fair! An 18 
oughta hit anybody!" 

"Sorry!" 

"Geez , and I was gonna do extra 
damage too, cuz of my Ogre-strength 
belt . " 

"You have an Ogre-belt?" Lou gashed. 

"Yeah, why?" 

"Because it also gives you plus 
six to hit, so you only need to roll a 
15! You nailed him." 

"Awesome!" Mike cheered, watching 
as Lou rolled the dice for damage. 

"Twelve points of damage, plus 
the six for his Ogre-belt , plus the three 
from his battleaxe. Twenty-one points of 
damage , Harley . " 

Harley had been watching the whole 
thing with a bitter smile on his 
face, angry because he didn't get to 
attack first , angry because his invisi- 
bility ploy had failed, due to his own 
stupidity, and angry because no ninth- 
level Paladin should be fighting a 
fifteenth-level one. It was suicide!" 

Harley got to fight back, though, 
and managed to inflict twenty-five 
points on Mike's Knight in return. 

(continued) 
-15- 



The Duel, continued 



The next few rounds of combat were 
simple "tradings of blows, both missing 
more frequently than hitting. Then, 
Harley got an idea. He used his priest- 
ly powers as all Paladins may, to create 
Holy water, and at the feet of Mike's 
stupid Knight . 

"Lessee," muttered Lou, checking his 
reference books," a 15th-level Paladin can 
create 15 gallons of water. You manage 
to create enough steam from the magic fire 
of the Plane to blind Mike this turn." 

"Whaaat!?! Blinded? But then I 
can't hardly defend myself! He could do 
a critical hit on me and cut my arm off or 
soraethin!" 

"Yep . " Harley grinned as he rolled 
the twenty die to determine if he hit or 
not. 

"You need a seven..." Lou said simul- 
taneously. 

"A four. I rolled a four," was all 
Harley could say as he stared at the dice, 
knowing that with the way his luck was 
going, he might actually lose, and to a 
stupid Jock with hardly enough brains to 
read the 'f's on his report cards! 

"Haw! Now I get to attack, right?" 

"Yeah. You going to do the same to 
him? " 

"Naw. I'm gonna try something dif- 
ferent. I'm gonna switch my battleaxe to 
my left hand and throw my dagger +2 at 
his face, called shot." 

"Called shots are a lot harder, Mike," 
Lou warned. "You'll be at minus four!" 

"Yeah, but 1 have a special skill 
in Dagger-throwing that gives me a bonus 
of five! So I only need to roll an 11, 
right?" 

"You got it." 

"Mikey, don't fail me now.,." Mike 
muttered, shaking the dice in his hands 
for luck. "A 13! I nailed him square 
in the face!" 

"Well," Lou began, flipping through 
his books, "you didn't roll high enough 
to put it through his eye and into his 
brain, but you did manage to blind him in 
his left eye and give him, . .thirty-seven 
points of damage." 

"Thirty-seven?!?" Harley gasped, His 
Galan was down to fifteen hit points. Anoth- 
er blow could easily kill him. 

"Now who's so tough?" 

"You wait. This round I am going to 



call on my god for strength." 

"You are?" Lou sputtered, surprised. 
"Sure. If it works, I get com- 
pletely healed, AND I get to strike with 
triple damage." 

"Okay... it says here that fifteenth- 
level Paladins have a base chance of 
twenty percent." 

"True, but I happen to have a talis- 
man, giving me a bonus of ^5%, and I 
wield a Holy Sword, at my side, which 
gives me an additional 10/5." 

"So you hafta roll a 75 or less on 
a die hundred. Roll," Lou said watching 
with fascination. 

"Ha! My luck changes! A 19! I 
could have made it without the extra 
help!" 

"Wha...you mean he's now completely 
healed up, his eye and everything?" 
Mike stammered. 

"Yeah, and if he hits you, he does 
triple damage," Lou offered. 

"Aw shit , . . ! My guy only has thirty 
hit points left! He'll kill me!" 

"You have an attack first , Mike . 
He still has only fifteen hit points 
until the end of this round, then he 
gets his healing." 

"What?!? But I thought this was 
instantaneous ! " 

"Sorry, Harley, but it says in the 
Guide that it takes a full battle round 
to call on your Deity for favors." 

"Shit! He could wipe me off the 
map by that time!" 

"Yeah, and then we'll see what 
happens to your Holy sword! I might 
like one of those!" 

"No way. I'll have Mark's magic 
user teleport my body back and Steve's 
Priest can raise me from the dead!" 

"How are you going to contact 
them from the Plane of Fire before 
I kill you, smart guy?" 

"I don't have to. They always know 
where I am, and so when they realize 
I've been killed, because when I get 
killed a special lamp lights up at our 
castle, they'll knew, and then they 
can. . ." 

"...Guys! Shut up! We can argue 
that out after we know who dies! 

(continued) 



-16- 



The Duel, continued 

Roll the dice, Mike!" 

Mike rolled the dice smugly, his con- 
fident smile turning to dismay when he 
discovered the very disappointing 7 he 
rolled. . . 

"You missed, and now that 1 am powered 
with the strength of the gods, I roll a... 
19! Plenty to hit you with! In fact, not 
only do I get to do my triple damage, I also 
get to roll a light critical, which means..." 
Harley paused, looking at Lou for the answer 
to his sentence. 

"Mike, your guy gets his right hand cut 
off, plus he takes. . .forty- seven points of 
damage. You lost, Mike. Rip up your charac- 
ter sheet and let your next of kin know of this 
sad day." 

"Shut up, Lou!" 

"Hey, don't act so surprised! You were 
taking on a Paladin 6 levels higher than 



you, and one of the most powerful 
characters in the school! What did you 
expect?" asked Harley, smirking proud- 
ly 

Mike stamped off, angry at the 
loss of his favorite character, but 
with plans for revenge all laid out in 
his mind. No longer was he going to get 
pushed around by high level knights. No 
more bullying from every kid who had a 
wizard over the 12th level. No more 
games! 

Harley came to school the next day 
with a black eye and swollen nose. No 
one questioned him about it , for fear of 
their character's life, but all knew that 
Mike was now a maverick, a renegade, a 
kid outside of the laws of their game 
system. Once again, it was the nerds who 
had to fear the jocks, and not the other 
way around. Once again, a reality set 
in over the school, as kids remembered 
the days before the game, when it wasn't 
so easy to be king. 



******** 



Pamela Si ever in 



SPY DAYS 



While I was in the Armed Forces, I did 
some undercover work for their Secret Ser- 
vice. Let me tell you, it really was "under 
the covers' work." I have changed some 
things, but on the whole, the story is true. 
I won't tell you what was changed, I'll 
leave that to your imagination! 

I was dating a cop and one night he 
had a meeting with a Secret Service officer. 
It seemed that the base cops were the main 
drug suppliers for the base and thus far they 
had been unable to furnish the guilty cops 
with handcuffs or demotions. The S.S. had 
set various traps, as they are prone to do, 
but the dealers had just slipped through 
their fingers. 

They needed an inside plant and my boy- 
friend, the coward that he was, wouldn't play 
ball with them because it was too dangerous, 

At the word dangerous, my ears perked up. 
As in spy novel type dangerous? James Bond 
type stuff? I asked. Yes, I was told to 
both of these ridiculous questions, 

I quickly began putting my imagination 
to work. Gee, T could do things like that. 



I ' d seen movies , and read books . I'd 
even slept with a few guys, so. that 
wouldn't bother me. Besides, this was 
for my country! 

My boyfriend never even batted an 
eye as I opened my mouth and volunteered 
to become one of the worst things one 
can become in the drug world... a snitch. 

The next day I went to the S.S. 
office and received my briefing. It was 
quick and to the point. 

"Find out where Mike is getting his 
drugs," my contact, Carl, said. 

That was all. No secret code words, 
no "Get Smart" shoe phone, no brief- 
case with a secret compartment .. .just 
"find out where Mike gets his drugs." I 
left the office feeling a little let 
down, but very excited and scared. Now 
how was I going to do this? I had open- 
ed my mouth last night and said that men 
will tell women things they wouldn't tell 
men, and now I had to find out how that 
was accomplished. 

(continued) 



-IT- 



Spy Days, continued 



As I dressed for my date with Mike, 
I wondered if what I'd read in books was 
right. Could drug dealers really smell 
a snitch a mile away? If so, I wouldn't 
have a date that night and my career in 
the Secret Service would be over. 

Mike arrived promptly at 6:30 p.m. 
and we headed downtown. 

Now, downtown in the Phillippines is 
not the same as downtown Chicago. Bagio 
is a small dirty town. Picture any town 
with dirt streets, wooden sidewalks, about 
20,000 people living in 5,000 houses, 
and you have Bagio. Ohyeah, they also 
do not have indoor plumbing. The city 
itself isn't that great, but they do have 
fantastic bars. And if you like to watch 
hairless women strip, the Phillippines is 
the place to go. 

We settled ourselves at a table and 
after a beer Mike excused himself. I 
watched him go toward the men's room, then 
quickly turn and go out the front door. 
The next round of beers arrived, and I 
paid. 

Fifteen minutes later I went to the 
ladies' room. When I came out I could 
see that Mike hadn't returned yet, so 
I glanced out front. He wasn't in sight, 
so I sighed and went back to the table. 
I figured he's caught my scent and left. 
Oh well, I had a couple of beers to drink, 
then I would leave too. 

The floor show started and suddenly 
Mike sat down. 

"Hi ya, miss me?" he asked 

"I figured I'd been stood up," I 
replied. 

"Not by this guy," he said as he 
kissed me deeply. 

I shuddered all the way to my feet. 
My God, what a kiss, I thought as I almost 
melted and wet my pants. It was going to 
be hard to remember I was out to bust this 

guy. 

Presently, Mike rested his hand in my 
lap and as his fingers started to rub my 
left thigh I reached for his hand. 

I smiled up at him and whispered, 
"Please, don't start anything you don't 
intend to finish." 

He stopped and put his arm around me, 
drawing me closer to him than I ever 
thought two people could get. 

"What gave you the idea I wouldn't 

-18- 



finish?" 

As I looked into his dark brown eyes, 
my soul seemed to quiver. He lightly 
ran his fingers across my shoulder and 
collar bone towards my throat . I 
shivered. His other hand came into my 
lap. 

"Here," he said. "I have some- 
thing for you. " 

"What is it?" 

"Just take it. Pop it into your 
mouth, and swallow it with a sip of 
beer," he. instructed. 

He handed me a black capsule . I'd 
never had more than a toke or two of 
pot before, and had no idea what he 
had given me. I trusted him with my 
body, but not when it came to drugs, 
but I quickly popped it into my mouth, 
depositing it between my back teeth and 
cheek, then downed some beer. A few 
minutes later, I excused myself and 
went to the ladies' room. There, I 
stuck the capsule in a tube of lipstick. 

Back at the table I snuggled up 
close. 

"Everything all right?" he asked. 

"Oh yes," I breathily smiled up 
at him. 

After a few real slow dances, we 
left and headed to his place. He 
was one of the few individuals I ever 
knew of who lived off -base in the PI, 
it just wasn't sa fe for Americans, 
especially women. 

Mike was renting a huge house, 
almost the size of an estate really. 
He unlocked an eight foot high gate 
and we walked into a beautiful court- 
yard. Another gate needed unlocking, 
then the house door. I was ushered 
into a beautiful living room. Wall 
to wall, thick white ankle deep car- 
peting covered the floor. A black 
conversation pit sofa took up one 
corner of the room and a complicated 
stereo and TV set occupied the oppo- 
site wall. Several floor lamps stood 
around and track lighting had been in- 
stalled above the sofa. I dropped my 
purse on the sofa and asked for the 
restroom. 

When I returned, Mike had fixed 
us drinks and the stereo was sending 

(continued) 



Spy Days, continued 

forth slow relaxing music. I took a drink from 
him and asked for a tour. 

There was no way he could afford all 
this on his pay, I thought. Granted, he had 
one stripe more than me, but I knew the pay 
scale and that only meant $100 more a month. 
He had to be selling an awful lot of drugs. 

We were in his bedroom, which was just 
as lavish as the living room, when he took 
my drink from me and gently pulled me into 
his arms. Sinking onto the bed with him, he 
started kissing my neck and ears. One hand un- 
buttoned my blouse while his other hand tick- 
led the back of my thighs. 

I gently pushed myself away and murmured 
that I needed a shower. I also needed some 
time out. My pulse was racing and my head 
was spinning. It wasn't just from all the 
booze I I desperately needed to remind myself 
I was dealing with a drug dealer here. Not 
Just a very handsome, virile, sexy, erotic, 
sensuous man. While I was at that moment very 
much aroused, I tried very hard to remember I 
was working for my country, and I wasn't 
here Just to quell my passions. The shower 
did help a bit, but I was still anxious to 
appease my desires. Besides, I figured, if 
it took a little fun to close a case, why 
not! 

When I stepped from the shower, Mike was 
no longer in bed. I went into the living 
room and found him on the sofa going through 
my purse, 

"What are you doing?" I asked. Although 
it was obvious, I felt I needed to say some- 
thing. 

"I had to make sure you took it." 

"Took what?" 

"The pill I gave you. You aren't reacting 
like anyone else I've ever seen, and I just 
had to be sure you weren't going to pass it 
on. 

He started to put things back into my 
purse, gave up, and walked over to me. 

"You are beautiful..." he said as he 
picked me up and carried me to bed. 

Our lovemaking was fast and furious. 
Over almost before it began. Another drink, 
and we started over again. This time, very 
slow and fulfilling. 

The next day, after I finally came back 
down to earth, I turned my pill over to Carl. 

"This is speed," he said. "Where 'd he 
get it?" 

"Downtown, I suppose. We were at the 
Ragtime Bar when he disappeared. He returned 
and game me this." 

-19- 



"How long was he gone?" 

"About a half an hour." 

"A half an hour?" Carl shouted, 
slamming his hands down on his desk 
as he stood up. "He could have gone any- 
where in that amount of time. Didn't 
you follow him?" 

"Of course not! He said he was 
going to the bathroom. He'd just order- 
ed a round of drinks, how was I to know 
he'd sneak out?" 

"All right. What did you learn 
about a pot shipment?" 

"What pot?" 
"We heard from a very good source, 
there is a big shipment of pot on its 
way to Bagio. We need to know when and 
where delivery will be . " 

"Mike doesn't deal in pot. You 
told me yourself that he's just a pill 
head." 

"Right. But he has connections. 
We need that information." Carl re- 
seated himself and I knew my interview 
was over . 

"I'll see what I can do for you," 
I said as I left. 

I was working a double back that 
day, which meant that although I had 
just gotten off work at U:00 p.m., I 
had to be back at work at midnight , 
meaning I wasn't seeing Mike that night. 

It was almost a week later when I 
finally had a chance to talk to Mike 
about drugs again. 

We were seated at the Ragtime and 
I brought up the subject of buying some 
pot. He said he didn't deal in pot. 
I said yes, I know that, but didn't he 
know of someone I could contact for 
some?" 

Mike responded by telling me to 
shut up and I said he didn't have to get 
so huffy over just a question. I should 
known better than to pursue the issue. 
He'd caught my scent. The snitch had 
been snitched on, and I was in deep 
trouble. I didn't know it then, but 
a contract had been put out on my head, 
and at that moment I was worth a lot 
more dead than alive. 

But I did pursue the issue and when 
he called me an S.S. whore, I knew the 
game was up. Again I should have shut 
up and left, but at that time my temper 
ruled and I slapped him; feeling myself 
impervious to retaliation. He responded 

(continued) 



Spy Days, continued 

with a back hand and I responded in 
kind. In a matter of minutes, we 
had Just about totally destroyed the 
bar. The last thigg I remember was being 
on the floor, with Mike sitting on my 
chest, his hands encircling my throat. 

When I came to, I was in a Jeep, almost 
at my door-step. 



The next day, with a black eye and 
swollen jaw, and cracked rib, I in- 
formed Carl that my Secret Service 
days were over. He said he understood. 

I have decided, since then, that if 
James Bond ever needs any help , I do 
have experience; however there is a catc: 
I_ get to ride off into the sunset with 
the hero! 



******** 



Judy Belfield 



M. RamZ 



MASQUERADE 



BIRTHDAY DINNER 



Tomfoolery, dressed up as genius, 

dances in a three-ring fishbowl 

with a genuine smile 

pasted on its Einstein face, 

splashes antics 

as carelessly as moonlight, 

is seen by an audience 

with creme-de -la-creme taste 

who judges the proceedings 

astutely 

and pronounces inanity superb: 

real ignorance 

burrows further from light 

cannot emerge on another side 

its eyes narrow 

its ivory body 

as slick as a maggot 

just as ready to feast 



The small checkered tablecloth put miles 

between us 

As we quietly wrestled with hides of steak 

And ourselves. 

The old man across the distance looked 

familiar , 

But we acted more like midnight shift 

steel workers 

Eating somberly in some gritty, god- 
forsaken hole. 

My mind juggled memories gamely, 

But there was no flavor in them. 

And when words came, they were 

As late as the check; 

Something about "...happy birthday, son." 

******** 



******** 



d f aiello 



JOSIE'S BIRTHDAY 



The little round rooster-shaped 
clock hung above the doorway, ticking 
its minutes by tail and beak. 

Josie sat, knees sprawled, lungs 
huffing from the bed she had just made 
and swallowed her cup of tea as she 
watched the beak of the rooster slowly 
move toward the big 12 at the top of the 
cocky bird's head. 

Josie was eighty today. She had 
saved two dollars from her social security 
checks, one dollar last month and one this 
month, and sixty-four cents from linty 
coat pockets and crumb-filled sofa 

-20- 



cushions . It had taken her two weeks to 
find the nickels, dimes, and pennies, 
huffing and wheezing her way through 
boxes and furniture packed away and 
left to rot since Harry had died — ten 
years ago today— her birthday. 

Josie went to see Harry every year. 
The bus ride across town was one dollar an 
twenty-five cents, with her senior citi- 
zen discount, and one dollar for her ice- 
cream cone, double-scoop, while she sat 
on the bench and talked to Harry's stone. 

It had been a lousy thing to do, 
(continued) 



Josie's Birthday, continued 



dying like that on her birthday. Josie 
had found Harry in the middle of the kitchen 
floor in his paisley print pajamas, arms 
sprawled out at his sides, like Christ on 
the cross, lying there stone-cold while the 
steam rose from the old grey kettle and float- 
ed up, disappearing for a moment until yellow 
streaks could be seen running down the dirty 
walls leaving yellow globs deposited at the 
bottom of the streaks as they slowed in the 
cooler air. 

Josie had told the ambulance drivers what 
a lousy thing it was for Harry to do on her 
birthday, and the policeman who came later and 
the delivery boy who comes once a week from 
the grocery. She tells him once a year. 

But Josie doesn't see the streaks de- 
corating the once-white walls. Or the string 
of webs collecting in corners of the cark front 
room. Or the delivery boy who takes an 
extra fifty cents from her laid-open extend- 
ed palm, feeling justified for having to 
talk to the blind old lady once a week and 
smell the damp, sick-to-death-smell that 
came creeping out the door as she slowly 
backed it open until it was there, filling 
his nostrils as he grabbed his own-given tip 
and ran back to the grocery. 

Josie saw the dark beak stand straight 
while the shorter tail pointed toward the 
very small refrigerator sitting by the back 
door, rattling as it worked to keep her but- 
termilk cool. She walked to the front hall 
closet and took out the Sunday coat. The 
big grey tweed sat crooked on her stooped 
shoulders. She could still smell Harry's 
after-shave clinging to the dirty wool. 

The nine-fifteen crosstown bus screeched 
as it stopped and opened the doors. Josie 
rode quietly, trying to see what rolled past 
the window view. 

A young, blond, bouncing teenager boarded 
the crosstown and took the empty seat next 
to Josie. The music overflowed from her 
skinny ear covers, reminding Josie of the 
hot water she frequently pours too much of in 
her small porcelain cup, spilling out where 
she didn't want it to go. 

The music was getting louder and the 
fluffy-haired teenager was bouncing faster 
and harder trying to keep up with the 
sound echoing out of her ear piece and filling 
the air Josie felt was hers. 

It never occurred to Josie to move. 
After all, she felt she had been there first. 
She was the one riding to the end of town 



and it was her birthday. Harry always 
told her she could have whatever she 
wanted on her birthday. 

Even though Harry had been dead 
a long time, Josie remembered everything " 
he told her. She did have trouble re- 
membering his face sometimes, but she 
always remembered the bald spot on the 
back of his head and his grey suit he 
saved for weddings and funerals . That ' s 
where she saw him most times , lying in 
his coffin, arms no longer spread out 
like a bird's, wings, but folded nice, 
fingers touching as they lay neatly on 
his chest with his grey suit looking 
starched and creased. 

Josie felt pain as the teenager 
hit Josie's shoulder with her radio in 
her waving arms. 

Josie smiled as she rubbed the 
sore spot. She smiled as the familiar 
rumblings and gurgles started turning 
over in her intestines , as they always 
did after her morning pot of tea. 

The bouncing teenager didn't hear 
the warning which Josie felt was only 
right. Suddenly the bouncing stopped, 
then Josie felt the teenager and heard 
her leave for the front of the bus . 
Josie rode, smiling the way across 
town. She could hear Harry telling her 
about getting old. 

"People expect you to be silly 
when you get old, so why not use it when 
you need to?" 

Josie remembered everything Harry 
every said to her. When she got off 
the bus at Oak Hill Cemetery, Josie 
went across the street to the ice-cream 
shop first. 

She sat on the cold stone bench, 
eating her double-scoop chocolate cone, 
talking and laughing with Harry's stone 
while people stared and shook their 
heads as they walked down the sidewalk. 

"That's all right," she told Harry's 
stone. "It's my birthday." 



-21- 



Ruth B. Gray 



CHRISTMAS RECOLLECTIONS - 1987 



Yesterday my sister, Alice, told me she 
and her family were going to spend Christmas 
in [Missouri. A few minutes later Peg, my 
oldest sister, phoned informing me that she 
and her husband were going to Florida for 
the holidays. I felt disappointed and per- 
haps a little hurt . I usually celebrate 
Christmas with my sisters since I am alone. 

There is a part of me that still wants 



customs. As for me, I've been by myself 
and have no children since 1970. Prior 
to this second attempt at the state of 
singlehood, I tried ^° establish holiday 
customs in my household. The very fact 
that my spouse did not consider them 
important was one of the mitigators in 
the demise of my marriage. It is no fun 
to do those things alone. 

One gets greater joy and satisfaction 



the same kind of Christmas that we had when 
we were children. The entire family together, out of life in doing for others. Per- 
My more logical part tells me that it is im- sonal pain and anguish really does di- 
possible. Both Mom and Dad are gone; as minish every time you do or say something 
well as Grampa, Aunt Mae and Uncle Muck; Uncle that makes a difference in the life of 
Jim and Aunt Hazel; Uncle Bill and Aunt Alice, a fellow sufferer. 



all gone, but certainly not forgotten. The 
big old house we lived in behind Dad's gas 
station is gone, too. 

Most importantly, what is not gone is 
the love and care we all shared. From the 
very first Christmas I am able to remember 
that love was evident. In 1936 I was h and 
my sister Alice was 7, my folks' business 
didn't do well at all. But, at Christmas 
the whole family was there, and I recall 
our gifts as if it were this Christmas. 
That Christmas morning of 1936 we were 
greeted by Mickey Mouse dolls. We had over- 
heard the folks talking about things being 
so bad that we were convinced that we would 
not have a Christmas that year. 

Christmas customs in my parents' home 
followed the old Scot's ways. The Gray clan 
would gather with their closest friends and 
the bagpipes would start. The best memory 
was the singing — that is where I learned many 
of the folk tunes from my grandfather's 
birthplace. My uncles all had fine voices and 
they would lead the singing of the carols and 
the songs of the highlands. On holidays, my 
uncles resplendant in their kilts, with 
midnight blue velvet jackets, over frothy 
white lace-edged shirts, would perform, all 



Isn't it strange how one's serious 
thinking leads the thinker down so many 
paths, particularly during the Yuletide 
season? The past seems to be coming in 
loud and clear in the most wonderful 
warm ways. As I go on doing my volunteer 
work, I keep recalling my Mom's favorite 
admonishment to me when I would let 
myself roll in self-pity. Mom would 
say, "You know if you would just get 
busy and start doing things for others, 
your problems will soon disappear." 
One of the secrets of a good life is 
reaching out to others and it is in- 
consequential whether someone reaches 
back because you have put your burden 
aside to help another. And, when you 
pick your burden up again, it is not 
nearly as heavy as before. At the age 
of fifty-five, I have made the most won- 
derful discovery. I had the smartest 
mother in the world! 

There have been fifty-five Christ- 
mas days in my life. The first 21 were 
spent with my family doing all the things 
I've been writing about. Those days 
were filled with helping Mom in the 
kitchen, making candy, peeling apples 



the Highland dances and then later lead every- for homemade apple pie, mashing pumpkin 



one in the wild reels that originated in the 
Lowlands. As long as Grandpa Gray was alive, 
these customs were kept. But, surely as 
the Scot's burry speech pattern faded from 
our family, so did these wonderful customs. 
My three sisters have their own homes, 
and have established their individual holiday 



for the same purpose and most of all, 
watching in utter fascination while 
Mom made Scot scones and luscious golden 
tan shortbread. My 22nd Christmas was 
spend in Navy Boot Camp at U.S. Naval 
Training Center, Bainbridge, Maryland. 

(continued) 



-22- 



Christmas Recollections - 1987 » continued 



From then on, there were few holidays with 
my family, 

• The remainder of my Christmas holidays 
read like a road map. That itinerary in- 
cluded San Diego, San Francisco, Fort Devon, 
MA, Camp Lejune, NC, Nicosia, Cypress, 
Washington DC, Brussels, Belgium, Geneva, 
Switzerland, Saigon, Vietman, Hong Kong, 
New York City, and now back home. Each one 
of the places was special, each in its own 
way. One of the most memorable was in 
Vietnam where I was privileged to get to 
see Bob Hope's last Vietnam show. 

Even though these were special days, 
not one was as special as being at home. 
My eyes sting and a king-size lump forms in 
my throat every time I recall Christmas 
with my sisters and my parents. Another 
year when business was not too good, Alice 
and I were again aware that there would be 
no new dolls , roller skates , or other toys . 
For weeks before Christmas after Alice and 
I would be sent upstairs to bed, we would 
hear the tapping of a hammer, and Mom's 
treadle sewing machine whirring and thump- 
thumping away into the night. On Christmas 
morning, we really didn't know what to expect 
when we went downstairs. The sight that 
greeted us was beautiful upholstered chests. 
Upon opening them, we found them packed 
full of clothing for our Shirley Temple 
dolls we had received on last Christmas. 

Although the age of the chest is close 
to forty, I still have mine. The upholstery 
is quite tattered and is rotting off the 
wooden crate Dad put together, it is still 
a symbol of what my parents did to make the 
bad times good for us. Every time I look 
up on that shelf where it sits I still get 
the same feeling I had that morning I first 
saw it. 

The year after my father died I was in 
Switzerland and wouldn't be able to get 
back to Illinois until January. Regardless, 
I went shopping for a gift for Mom. As every- 
one knows, Mom is hard to buy a gift for. I 
went from one Swiss shop to another look- 
ing at lace, handmade leather goods, clocks 
and watches. Nothing seemed to be the "right" 
gift. As I trudged down one of Geneva's 
narrow side streets, I came upon a small 
shop that specialized in music boxes. I 
browsed around for awhile, and was on my 
way out the door when to ray right in a small 
display case something caught ray eye and 
said, "Buy me." It was a beautiful pendant 
watch on a long gold chain. The case was 

-23- 



cloisonne (Chinese metal work with etch- 
ings and enamel layered ) . The enamel 
was a brilliant Chinese red with gold 
etching in the shape of delicate flowers. 
When the watch case was opened, a tiny 
music box played Debussy's "Clair de 
Lune," which was one of Mom's favorite 
pieces of music . After purchasing the 
watch, I felt as though I had gotten a 
shiny star and wrapped it up to give 
Mom. When I arrived home, I could 
hardly wait to give Mom her gift. When 
she opened its velvet case, I knew that 
I had picked the "right" gift. For the 
first time in my life, I felt as though 
I had really made my Mom happy. After 
that, every time Mom had an occasion to 
wear her pendant , you could hear her 
announce, "This is what my Ruth picked 
out and brought home from Switzerland 
for me." That look on her face still 
gives me the warm fuzzies. No Christ- 
mas present ever brought me so much joy 
as the one I gave to Mom! 

All these recollections I have been 
relating are the things that make me 
happy even though I may be spending this 
Christmas alone. Because, in reality, 
I will be physically alone, but spiritu- 
ally I will have so much company, my 
tiny house won't hold all my friends. 

My spiritual guests will include 
the kind soul who came to my rescue out 
in Bar stow, California when my husband 
deserted me; the friends in New York 
City who knew me slightly but still 
tended to me and cared for me when I 
was so ill in New York Infirmary, the 
dear friend who came to my aid when I 
was beaten and raped; my deceased friend, 
"Woody," who shared the same birthday 
with me who never forgot to drop a line 
no matter where on earth he was ; my 
friends who huddled and prayed with me 
when the bombs were raining down in 
Cypress* ^ friend whom I met in Vietnam 
and have shared love and companionship 
over the past 18 years; the life-long 
girlhood friends who are a long distance , 
away but have kept in touch through 
thick and thin; and all the others who 
have played very important parts in my 
life. 

It is not important to receive gifts 
nor is it necessary to give material 

(continued) 



Christmas Recollections - 1987, continued 

things. That is not what Christmas is 
about. It is the time of a new beginning, 
a time of renewal. It is a time to step 
back and decide that it is better to give 
of oneself than to sit back and wallow in 
self-pity. True freedom and self-worth to 
me go hand in hand when I do something for 
someone else. 

One wonders why, particularly during 
the Christmas season, we are given to 
flights of nostalgia. A few years ago, 
I found myself really beeling blue and 
perhaps shedding a few tears when recalling 
Christmas of the Past. But, after analyzing 
my feelings, I found that the tears did 
not fill that empty feeling I had. When I 
dried the tears and admitted that those 
days are gone, hope seemed to fill the 
void. The hope I'm speaking of is the 
kind that pushes you on simply because 
the future "special days" will provide for 
more memories and more friends. 

This Christmas will be a very quiet 
holiday for me. Part of the day I will 
be doing volunteer work with Crisis Line. 
Maybe the sound of my voice over the phone 
will make a difference to someone who is 
really in pain. 

******** Jacque Kuriger 



READ ME! 

A girl I met upon the street 

was a happy, impish sprite. 
She of song and smiles and curls 

she doesn't read the things I write. 

A man bedecked with labor ' s dust 

comes home so late at night. 
He's proud to earn a long day's wage 

but, he doesn't read the things I write, 

A man of wealth who whirls past 

with a foreign auto, clean and light 

Who buys books by the tens anc scores 
HE doesn't read the things I write. 

Who is it then, that reads my lines? 

My prose and verse so bright? 
The hard worked teacher, with pen in hand 

Alone he reads the words I write! 

******** 

-2k- 



Daniel E. Howard 



WHAT REMBRANDT DID BEST 

He's a dog of a "breed of a new kind of seed. 

He watches intently, records what he sees. 

He catches chased bumpers. He bites the wrong tails 

Other dogs wonder, but Rembrandt prevails. 

No bones about him, and proud of the sticks 

that chased him as a puppy while he ran for bricks. 

His mansion's a doghouse. In swamp he has hooks, 

and he merges with greatness when no one else looks. 

******** 



MaryAnn DesMarais 



A KALEIDOSCOPE 

whirling twirling 
twisting turning 
patterns unfurling 
images burning 

mirrors reflect 
successively symmetric 
shapes deflect 
brilliantly electric 

colors changing 
helplessly drawn 
constantly rearranging 
unrelenting pawn 



John Buell 



COME TO ME 



What a fun game 
in a little tube of glass 
it ' s never the same 
Isn't that how life seems to nass? 



Come to me, 
into my cocoon, 
and peer out from me, 
What do you see? 



whirling twirling 
t wi s t ing turning . 



******** 



******** 



-25- 



Mary Ann DesMarais 



ALWAYS WANTED TO 

There's been so many 
quiet walks I've longed to take 
in order to turn the key 
on vords I've wanted to say 
to you.. I always wanted to. 
There's "been so many 
beautiful dreams that seemed to wake 
after you made me see 
that they were mine to make 
Thanks . . I always wanted to 

There ' s been so many 
things I've wanted to do... 
Memories — we all keep 
the moments too few 
Before I lay once more to sleep 
I must say: Dad, I Love You! 

******** 



James Bur key 



MY LOVE FOR YOU 

My love for you is as deep as the sea. 

My love for you is busy as a bee. 

My love for you is as lovely as a flower. 

My love for you is like a great tower. 

My love for you is as sweet as a peach. 

My love for you is like waves at the beach. 

My love for you grows with each day. 

But, let's face reality — my love is a cliche. 

******** 



=26- 




U10F2DEHTER S3